The international break is finally over and it’s now time for the Rossoneri to focus back on Serie A and do their best in the last 10 games to reach the Champions League. The next opponent is Sampdoria, a team that has no more goals for this season, but that can create some issues.
Milan have won 65 of the 125 Serie A games against Sampdoria (30 draws, 30 defeats) and only Inter won more Serie A games against the Liguri, 69. Milan lost only one home game in the last seven matches against Sampdoria (0-1 in 2017), won four times and draw twice. The Rossoneri are not performing very good at home in this season, they haven't collected a single victory in the last five home games. Indeed, in the top five European Leagues, Milan is the team with the higher negative difference between points gained at home (22) and away (37): -15.
(Not) Fun fact: in 2017 Milan and Sampdoria faced each other two times playing at 12:30 (Italian time), one time in Milan and one time in Genoa, and on both occasions Sampdoria won (1-0 in Milan and 2-0 in Genoa).
As with almost every game, Pioli won’t have the full squad available for the next match. Calabria, Romagnoli, Diaz, Maldini, Mandzukic and Leao won’t take part to the game due to their injuries. The only good news come from Rebic, who will be back after the reduction of the two-games suspension. Unlike the last games, Pioli has a big change in mind to replace Calabria: starting with Saelemaekers as right back instead of Dalot; the Belgian has already played a few games in that position during last season, and we’ll see if he’ll be able to adapt himself in that role. Castillejo, who scored in the first leg game, will take his place as right wing. After the good performance in Florence, Bennacer will start alongside Kessie. Calhanoglu and Ibrahimovic will complete the attack. The two Rossoneri are back in Milan after some very good games with their national teams; the Swede made two terrific assists in two games, while the Turk registered two goals and three assists in three games.
Ranieri seems to confirm the attack tandem that won against Torino, Gabbiadini and Quagliarella; this latter will make his 494th presence in Serie A, reaching the 17th place in the all-time Serie A appearances charts, overtaking Andrea Pirlo. The main doubts for the romano coach are who should play between Tonelli and Yoshida and between Jankto and Damsgaard. Ekdal and Torregrossa won’t take part to the game due to muscular problems.
Milan lineup (4-2-3-1): G. Donnarumma; Saelemaekers, Tomori, Kjaer, Hernandez; Bennacer, Kessiè; Castillejo, Calhanoglu, Rebic; Ibrahimovic. Coach: Pioli
Sampdoria lineup (4-4-2): Audero; Bereszynski, Tonelli, Colley, Augello; Candreva, Thorsby, Adrien Silva, Damsgaard; Gabbiadini, Quagliarella. Coach: Ranieri